SAN MARCOS — The appearance of a humdrum, sunken field of grass across the street from an Army Reserve center here belies the site’s importance to an industry being primed for swift growth in Texas: the cannabis business.
Right now, the most visible sign of activity is a mound of dirt used for a mid-April groundbreaking ceremony by the multistate company that’s investing $25 million to build a cannabis cultivation and retail facility here.
It’s a bold move that may say a lot about the state of the industry in Texas — and what such a company sees coming down the pike.
“I suspect if you grabbed a random person on the street and asked them if cannabis was legal in Texas, they would probably look at you like you’re crazy and say ‘no,’” said Marcus Ruark, president of goodblend Texas, which is preparing the site for its 63,000-square-foot marijuana growing facility.
The notion that it’s “crazy” is because cannabis is still illegal in Texas, which is home to some of the strictest anti-marijuana laws in the nation. But a gradual expansion of the state’s limited medical marijuana program in recent years could soon give way to an industry that’s accessible to a broader swath of Texans.
More for you
While still relatively low, the number of Texans utilizing the state’s medicinal marijuana Compassionate Use Program has grown by 180 percent over the past year. Some estimate there are about 2 million Texas patients eligible to use cannabis, but many just don’t know about the program.
“So we’ve started making an investment in that and getting the word out and increasing awareness, and I think that’s definitely helping,” Ruark said.